Home sellers all want to put their house on the market and sell it without doing anything to it. One might conclude that they are lazy, but the truth is people who work all the time usually have little time for home improvement.
Homebuyers, on the other hand, want to buy a house that is in perfect condition. And they, being the buyers, have the leverage to make the rules. They can be “lazy” and demanding. There are after all lots of houses for sale.
Few people want a fixer upper. All buyers who will settle for a fixer upper want to buy it cheaply, substantially below market. So if you want to get your cash out of your house you need to make sure it does not look like a bunch of expensive and time-eating projects to buyers.
One way to figure out what you need to fix in order to sell your house is to have it inspected. A qualified inspector can tell you what repairs must be done so that you don’t end up with a long list of repairs after you have a contract. That’s if the buyer doesn’t freak out and use the home inspection contingency clause found in most contracts to exit the transaction. Good news: there are home inspectors who will charge far below their buyer rates for a “home inspection lite” that will point out major problems and safety related issues. Your Realtor will be able to tell you which ones do this.
But there are still other things you need to do to sell and sell faster.
Take a look around your house as though you are a buyer. What makes you dissatisfied and unhappy with your house? Is the kitchen outdated? Are the baths worn and moldy? Is there too little storage?
If these things are an issue for you, they probably will be an issue for potential buyers, too.
The cheapest ways to update any home are simply to clean up and paint.
Cleaning up is always necessary if you want to sell your home. Dirt, especially in kitchens and baths will kill a sale faster than anything. But clutter can be just as fatal to resale as actual dirt. Those of us with kids and pets are unusually challenged in achieving resale. Kids and pets make it very difficult to make houses look as perfect as buyers expect when they are house hunting.
If you really want to sell your home you have to forget about having a normal life. No kidding. The buyers look on your home, with all its memories, as a house. It is a product they are buying.
Only when they live there will it become a home again. Their home.
And before you get ready to resale you also need to make sure everything's neutral in color. Sure you might like your red kitchen sink, but it will bite you back at resale. Think about all the things that work at resale. Stainless steel sinks are gray, counter tops that are neutral in color work best regardless of material. White bathroom fixtures work, but pink ones don’t and on and on.
Yes, there may be folks who like strong colors and patterns and dated decorating, but they are few and far between and they have widely different tastes.
Make those walls, counters, tubs, floors and everything adaptable to your buyer’s furnishings.
Do you know what their furnishings look like?No, you don’t. That’s why all your fixtures and colors have to be neutral in color. White, ivory, khaki, tan, cream, wood tones, black, natural stone, and any other neutral color can work for resale. Think sort of non-color colors that will go with anything any buyer might have. Then you have what buyers are usually seeking.
You have a house that is that most magical of all- a “resale winner”. A house that is universally “move in ready”.
In doubt? Call an experienced Realtor to walk through and give you room to room advice.
(Then, remember to call them when you are ready to list).